When the last seconds finish ticking off the clock at the Silicon Valley Roller Girls bout on May 31 at San Jose Skate, it will be the final time the girls skate at the rink they’ve called home for the last seven years.
“The property was sold at the beginning of this year,” said team captain Tara “Patty Hearse” Flores. “May 31 is our last hurrah. Come June 1, they’re closing the doors.”
The girls of the non-profit SVRG, which consists of three adult and two junior derby teams, as well as a recreational league called the Circuit Jerks, have been fundraising to help with the costs of finding a new home and making purchases, like the team’s new Sport Court, which will allow them to skate on any surface. On May 24, the league held a garage sale in Santa Clara to help with its cause.
“Patty has been on the committee to help find us new practice spaces,” said Amanda “Demanda Rumble” Hershberger. “We’re looking for warehouses and they have to fit a specific requirement for spacing, and they have to be habitable and affordable. We don’t have a lot of money and we basically depend on our dues for funds and also the contributions of people and sponsors.”
The ideal space for SVRG would be at least 20,000 square feet, which would account for the necessary track dimensions and seating area for bouts.
“It’s not just warehouses [we’re looking for],” said Hershberger. “We actually – the travel team – went down to play against a team in Southern California that actually plays in a parking lot and it’s basically a space that they’re able to use. Roller derby leagues all across the country can’t always have the luxury of having a warehouse space.”
“We sign waivers and we have our own insurance and we’re covered liability-wise,” added Flores. “We can skate or do this anywhere. We just need the opportunity.”
Once San Jose Skate closes, SVRG will hold bouts at Roosevelt High School until the weather warms up. At that time, the league will reorganize and focus on traveling to other facilities for bouts. Until a space is secured, fans will likely need to travel north to Oakland and San Francisco or west to Santa Cruz to get their derby fix, as SVRG is the only team currently playing in Silicon Valley.
“This is a whole community of people,” said Hershberger. “We’re family … It’s very entertaining. It definitely brings the community together. Any help from anybody is greatly appreciated.”
A FundRazr campaign is underway with the league hoping to raise $20,000. In addition, the team will continue the search. Anyone with space available or ideas about available spaces can contact SVRG through http://svrollergirls.com/contact/. Contributions can be made at fundrazr.com/campaigns/chft5.
Tickets ($9.27 for children, $13.41 for general admission and $32.04 for VIP premium seating) to SVRG’s final bout, which will pit the Silicon Valley Killabytes against the Faultine Derby Devilz from Hollister at 6 p.m. and the Silicon Valley Dot.Kamikazes against the Bay Area Berkeley Resistance at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 31 can be purchased through www.brownpapertickets.com/event/665713.
SVRG is ranked 92 out of nearly 200 roller derby teams throughout the world.